Wow, what a difference 7 years makes in Hollywood.
Back in 2010 when The Losers hit theaters:
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan was coming off a 23 episode run on Grey’s Anatomy and had starred in Watchmen, another ill-fated comic book adaptation
- Zoe Saldana was just starting to make it big after her superb portrayal of Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and her mo-cap performance as a big blue alien in James Cameron’s Avatar
- Chris Evans had yet to be a smash after his turn as the Human Torch in the failed Fantastic Four franchise and his role in Push (the best “X-Men but not” film we’ve ever gotten)
- Idris Elba had made a name for himself on the small screen with HBO’s The Wire but was still a few years out from making a splash on the big screen
Now fast forward those aforementioned 7 years:
- Morgan is the scariest villain on TV as the head bashing, baseball bat wielding Negan
- Saldana is a major part of, not one but two, major science fiction franchises in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy
- Evans is has gone from rom-com goofball to the leader of the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, staring as Steve Rogers/Captain America in arguably some of the best comic book movies ever committed to film
- Elba has also joined the Marvel Cinematic universe as Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost in the Thor movies, cancelled the apocalypse in the sci-fi cult classic Pacific Rim, lent his distinctive voice to a number of Disney films, and is about to portray one of the greatest Stephen King characters ever, Roland Deschain in the upcoming The Dark Tower
Yes, what a difference a few years makes in Hollywood.
The Losers follows an elite CIA team after they’re betrayed by a mysterious man named Max and a helicopter full of 25 children are killed in the process. While the team is hiding out in Bolivia, a woman approaches them with a plan to get their revenge on Max and get their lives back. What follows is a pretty fun action adventure with more than enough humor to keep me in smiles the whole time.
Like I listed out in the intro, this film has an amazing cast of actors that were all on the cusp of greatness when The Losers was released and all of whom have now hit that big time. Morgan, Saldana, Evans, and Elba are all fantastic here and that’s not to mention the other cast members Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada who round out the cast. This film really shines in the interactions of the characters and the humor, tension, and emotion that the cast brings to the table. The well timed sarcasm and dry humor really makes this movie for me, especially when it’s Chris Evans delivering the lines. I think it’s easy to forget just how funny he can be now that we’ve seen him as the straight laced Captain America for so many years and now that he’s doing smaller, more dramatic films like Snowpiercer.
The action presented in The Losers is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say that there is anything stylistically unique about it but it never feels overly unrealistic or unbelievable. The action sequences are well paced and well placed throughout the movie, giving us a nice consistent feel throughout.
The most unfortunate thing about this film though is that we never got a follow up. The ending is left wide open for a sequel, which I’m sure was planned but got scraped. Money makes sequels and sadly, The Losers barely broke even at the box office and probably lost money when factoring in theaters taking their cuts and the marketing budget. Also, looking at the Rotten Tomatoes scores is a little disheartening, as it seems, at the time, The Losers was a swing and a miss with both critics and fans.
If there’s one big weakness in The Losers, it has to be the villain, Max. While the mystery that surrounds him is intriguing at times, it’s never full explored or developed which may have be a deliberate choice if they were holding off for a sequel. Also, the way Max is played by Jason Patric comes off a bit too “mustache twirly” and his motives are never completely explained. Thinking about it, I can get that he wants to sell some nasty weapons of mass destruction to whoever will buy them and use them so the US government, and the CIA specifically, can continue to operate on bloated budgets and basically do whatever they want. When that plan is challenged, he pivots to wanting to execute a false flag attack on US soil blaming terrorists so he can still accomplish the same goal. Like I said, this is never fully explored or explained but it makes sense and it is actually kind of a frightening prospect given the geo-political climate we live in today.
I remember seeing The Losers back when it first released in April of 2010 and I remember loving it. After watching it again, I still really, really enjoy it. It’s far from a perfect movie, or the best comic book movie but it is also far from being the worst comic book adaptation ever made (cough cough Howard the Duck cough cough). The Losers is a solid action comedy that gets its laughs from true character moments rather than some of the tired version of slapstick that Hollywood churns out or from over wrought, predictable scripting and easy jokes. In my humble opinion, The Losers is an unfairly forgotten film and often over looked when discussing comic book movies. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend tracking it down and giving it a chance and if you have seen it and liked it, give it another watch and tell some friends about it. I’d love to see this film get the credit I feel it deserves.
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Until next time, Thank You for reading and…
SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!